Linguine with Clam Sauce

Today on the Martha Stewart Show, an audience member asked guest Mario Batali, “If you could make only one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?” And Mario answered, “Linguine with Clam Sauce.”   Yep.  Linguine with Clam Sauce, my very first post when I started this blog.  Well, if it’s good enough for Mario . . .

I’m inspired to move it up to the top of my blog hoping viewers will take a s second look because it is a pretty amazing dish.  The half hour prep time makes it great for a week night meal yet it is special enough, as Mario will attest to, for a company meal.  My recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s, but instead of using tiny Adriatic clams (which you can’t get around here anyway) I use 6 ½ oz. canned chopped (not minced) clams. I have tried fresh clams as well as  the addition of  a few fresh clams as garnish.  I actually prefer the canned chopped clams as you won’t find any of those hard bits that are part of fresh clams.

Traditionally cheese is not used in a seafood dish.  However, this is an exception.  The introduction of freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano gives the dish an extra salty complex edge.  The dish picture here is garnished with littleneck clams, but these are completely optional.

3- 6 ½ oz. cans of chopped clams

½ cup olive oil

2 T finely chopped shallots

1 T finely minced garlic

2 T chopped parsley

¼ t chopped dried hot red pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

8 oz. linguine

1 T butter

2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to serve separately)

Salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Drain the chopped clams and save the liquid.  Heat the oil in a skillet and then add the shallots and garlic.  Sauté gently.  Add parsley and hot pepper flakes.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add 1 cup of the liquid from the clams and reduce by a third.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and cook linguine according to directions on box.  When pasta is almost done, add clams to sauce, turn quickly, and turn off heat.  Add the butter and cheese. Add pepper to taste, but no salt. Turn in sauce.  Drain pasta and pour in skillet with sauce. Turn until nicely coated.  Serve with extra Parmesan cheese. Serves two.

Garlic bread goes well with this dish.  Place  3/4 inch  slices of good Italian bread on a cookie sheet.  Brush with enough melted butter and minced garlic for both sides of bread. Place under broiler to lightly brown one side, turn oven and brown the other..

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